Business support and advice
Ongoing support and advice for businesses as lockdown restrictions are lifted.

Employers and employees advice - COVID-19

Face mask

This page was updated on the 5 March 2021

The Government has published a plan for re-opening Businesses and Venues. For full details of the plan you should click the link below. 

GOV.UK Re-opening Businesses and Venues

Does my workplace have to close?

Business that must close and restrictions on opening

My workplace should be closed but its open, what can be done?

The Police and Preston City Council have powers to close businesses that remain open against the government orders. Environmental Health can also take action if businesses refuse to implement Covid Secure measures to keep employees and customers safe.

You can report business you think should be closed using the button below

Report a coronavirus issue form

Please visit our Covid-19 compliance in business webpages to see enforcement actions taken by Environmental Health.

For details of further restrictions, not affecting businesses, visit our FAQs on local restrictions page.

My workplace can remain open, what can it do to prevent the spread of Coronavirus?

The Health and Safety Executive have published two guidance leaflets Working Safely During the Coronavirus Outbreak and Talking with your Workers about Preventing Coronavirus which are very useful and should be read in conjunction with the rest of the information on this page.

The guidance below should be used only when the current coronavirus restrictions allow your business to operate.

The Government have directed that where possible and practical to do so, employees must work from home.

Risk Assessment

As an employer you should undertake a risk assessment focusing on Covid-19.

You should use the government guidance to help you inform and complete your risk assessments. The guidance is listed below.

For more information on how to undertake a risk assessment go to the Covid-19 HSE Risk Assessment web pages which include a template Risk Assessment.

  • Place posters that encourage staying home when sick, cough and sneeze etiquette, and hand hygiene at the entrance to the workplace and in other areas where they will be seen.
  • Provide employees with tissues and waste bins lined with a plastic bag so that they can be emptied without contacting the contents.
  • Instruct employees to clean their hands frequently, using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 70% alcohol and to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Provide paper towels and turn of hand dryers to prevent the spread of air borne particles.
  • Provide soap and water and alcohol-based hand rubs in the workplace. Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained. Place hand rubs in multiple locations and in common areas to encourage hand hygiene.
  • Ensure employees keep at least 2 meters away from each other, where possible.
  • Move workstations or designate workstations as vacant during this time.
  • Reduce the number of employees in the workplace at any one time, perhaps introduce shift working
  • Provide screens to protect employees from sneezes or coughs.
  • Prop open doors so they do not have to be touched (however you should consider your fire risk assessment if the doors are fire doors nor allow staff to work in an uncomfortable draft).
  • Allow employees to work from home, where possible and practical to do so. Please visit the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) guidance for home working.
  • Make sure ventilation systems are operating properly and that windows are opened to allow fresh air into the premises.

You should share the results of your risk assessment with your workforce. If possible, you should consider publishing the results on your website (and we would expect all businesses with over 50 workers to do so).

Below you will find a notice you should display in your workplace to show you have followed this guidance.

Staying Covid-19 Secure Poster

Someone at my workplace is unwell

  • If anyone becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature in the business or workplace they should be sent home and advised to follow the GOV.UK - Covid-19 Stay at home guidance.

  • If they need clinical advice, they should go online to NHS 111 or call 111 if they don't have Internet access. In an emergency, call 999 if they are seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk. Do not visit the GP, pharmacy, urgent care centre or a hospital.
  • If a member of staff has helped someone who was taken unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, they do not need to go home unless they develop symptoms themselves. They should wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds after any contact with someone who is unwell with symptoms consistent with coronavirus infection.
  • It is not necessary to close the business or workplace or send any staff home, unless government policy changes. Keep monitoring the GOV.UK - Covid-19 UK Government response page for the latest details

Someone at my workplace has had a confirmed case of coronavirus, what should happen?

  • There is no need to close the workplace, thorough cleaning should occur.
  • Ensure that any workstation or areas in which the employee has spent time has been thoroughly cleaned.
  • There is no need to thoroughly clean the entire premises or communal areas such as corridors through which the person may have passed.
  • Follow the directions on GOV.UK - Covid-19 Decontamination in non-healthcare-settings
  • If there is three or more cases of COVID-19 in a workplace, employers should contact their local health protection team to report the suspected outbreak, and seek advice.

PHE Cumbria and Lancashire Health Protection Team

Email: cl.hpt@phe.gov.uk

Phone: 0344 225 0562 option 2

Out of office: 0151 434 4819

Lancashire County Council have produced a guidance document for dealing with suspected or confirmed cases and outbreaks in workplaces:

LCC Covid Outbreak Resource Pack for Workplaces

Businesses registered in England, with more than 50 employees who cannot work from home & Charities maybe able to register for free lateral flow test kits: Register for Free Lateral Flow Test Kits

Do employers need to make a RIDDOR report if employees have COVID?

You must only make a report under RIDDOR (The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013) when: 

  • an unintended incident at work has led to someone's possible or actual exposure to coronavirus. This must be reported as a dangerous occurrence.
  • a worker has been diagnosed as having Covid-19 and there is reasonable evidence that it was caused by exposure at work. This must be reported as a case of disease.
  • a worker dies as a result of occupational exposure to coronavirus

For further information on Covid-19 and RIDDOR, or to make a RIDDOR report got to the HSE's website RIDDOR Reporting of COVID-19.

Do the public or employees need to wear a face covering in my business?

In many indoor premises where members of the public and employees mix, there are requirements upon businesses to ensure that customers and employees wear face coverings. Click the link below for more information.

Face Covering Requirements

My workplace handles cash, what can be done?

There is no law to prevent workplaces from accepting cash transactions. However the virus can be transmitted on cash. Therefore employees are at risk if handling cash when they are taking orders and cashing up at the end of the night. If employees catch the virus you maybe forced to close the business (because everyone is sick or isolating), especially in small businesses.

We would strongly recommend setting up a contactless payment system. There are systems such as iZettle, sum up, or square reader (other brands are also available). These are usually relatively cheap to set up and run.

We would urge businesses to encourage contactless payment whenever possible Icon for pdf Contactless Payment: Poster [588.19KB]

What employee training do workplaces need to offer?

You will need to ensure that all employees are given suitable and sufficient training in the new Covid-19 control measures that you are implementing within your workplace. In large workplaces you will need to ensure that all employees have adequate supervision to ensure Social Distancing is maintained.

There are free on-line training courses available to help you educate your employees on the basics and background to Covid-19 many can be found using a Google search.

Where can I go for advice on employer and employee relations?

Please visit our pages on Your Safety at Work.

Sector Specific Guidance published by the Government

The government, in consultation with industry, has produced guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible, this is the HM Government Guidance.  When undertaking your risk assessment you must have regard to the available guidance.

Following the guidance is not compulsory, unless specifically stated, and you are free to take other action, so long as the same level of protection is achieved.

But if you do follow the guidance you will normally be doing enough to comply with the law.

Health and safety inspectors seek to secure compliance with the law and may refer to guidance. Failure to implement suitable control measure may lead to formal action being taken against the duty holder(s).

Other industry guidance is also included below.

These guides cover a range of different types of work. Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles. You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep people safe;

Displaying information

Ensure sufficient signage is displayed so customers and employees understand the rules in place within your premises.

As a minimum we would expect to see the following information displayed within premises;

Links to Guidance

The Environmental Health Department is committed to helping both employers and employees during the Covid-19 emergency.

We would urge employers to take socially responsible decisions and listen to the concerns of their workforce.

We ask that all employees work with their employers to create and maintain a safe working environment for everyone.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for advice or information. You can contact us on 01772 906907 or email info@preston.gov.uk.

An image relating to Reopening Workplaces after the Closure Period
Before you re-open your business you need to consider how to do it safely.
An image relating to Your safety at work
Guidance on helping protect your health and safety at work.
An image relating to Face Coverings
A guide to the face covering requirements.
An image relating to Close Contact Services
Information on the control measures that businesses classed as close contact services must implement.
An image relating to Shops and Branches
Guidance and resources for those businesses in the retail industry.
An image relating to Takeaway Food
Information and guidance for food businesses offering takeaway food.
An image relating to Places of Worship Covid 19 Guidance
Guidance and restrictions on the use of places of worship.

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